Tuesday 23 July 2019

Islands and Calas - The West Coast of Ibiza

Wednesday 19th June to Wednesday 26th June

After a leisurely start to the day, we pulled up anchor at Port Porroig at around midday.  Our plan was to sail past Isla de Es Vedra and head up the west coast towards Cala Vadella, which had been recommended to us by a few people.

It was a beautiful sunny day and there was a light wind so with the foresail raised and the engine on, we set off.  As time was on our side, we stayed close to the shoreline as Mark wanted to show me a couple of places he'd visited whilst I was away.

First was Es Cubells, which Mark had moored off one night.  It's a tiny little cala with one restaurant but apparently it's where the rich and famous come for lunch and on the night Mark stayed there, it had been full of super yachts. Apparently I would have loved it! The next day, a film crew had turned up and were filming around the cala.  I'm sure I would have been bored of that. Not!

The second place was a little beach on the west side of the cala, which had the most amazing rock formations jutting out of the water.  There was no way you could get Offbeat close to them, but we did get close enough to appreciate them and take photos. 

From there we sailed to Isla de Es Vedra.  I was quite excited to see the island close up as it had been the first part of Ibiza we had glimpsed when we had sailed across from Javea and was nearly always visible during our travels around Formentera. 

Standing at almost 400 metres high, Es Vedra is shrouded in myths and legend.  There are some who believe the myth that it was the home of sirens and sea-nymphs who tried to lure Ulysses from his ship in Homer's Odyssey and reputedly it is the birth place of the goddess Tanit, whose statue is to be found across Ibiza. 

I usually take myths with a pinch of salt, but going through my photographs later, I do wonder if there is some truth in the myths.  I was particularly freaked out by the clearness of the face imprinted onto the rock, but I’ll leave you to make your own judgement. 

Whether true or not, Isla de Es Vedra really is an awesome sight to behold and has a mystical calmness to it as you pass it by.

Once past the island we headed into Cala Vadella. Hmm, we didn't stay long. Yes it's beautiful, yes the beach is white sand with coral blue sea, but every other boat in Ibiza must have been moored or anchored there. Not for us, we turned and headed back out to sea.

Given that Vadella would have provided us with the best shelter from southerly winds and swell, we decided to give the other calas along that stretch of coast a miss and headed for Cala Roja or Cala Bassa on the north west coast instead. 

We sailed past Illa s’Espartar and Illa des Bosc but to be honest, after seeing Isla de Es Vedra earlier, these two paled into insignificance.  Perhaps we'd appreciate them another day!

We ended up anchoring in Cala Roja, a pretty little bay with not too many boats so it would be nice and peaceful. Until the lorries, vans, tents, film crew and teenagers turned up to do a shoot for a europop video. 

At least they provided me with entertainment and they were only there one day.  Poor Mr P, it was his worst nightmare and didn't appear on deck until they’d left at sunset. 

We stayed in Cala Roja a couple of days and from there went into the marina at Sant Antoni.  I’d heard quite a bit about the town and how it's great for tourists but I have to say I was slightly underwhelmed by it. Yes, the sunsets are amazing and there are a few nice places along the front and on the square (where they sell fig and almond ice cream) but it was too busy and touristy for us. Still, we had a good time and made the most of it.

So, jobs completed, stores stocked and the ritual visit to the chandlery done, we headed out of Sant Antoni. Given wind and swell was now forecast to be from the east, we headed back to the west coast and would choose a place to anchor when we got there.

Before we did that though, as there was a fair wind we put the foresail and mainsail up, turned the engine off and sailed.  It was bliss. Even though we were only going at between 2.5 and 3 knots, the sound of the sea and breeze was very therapeutic.  We decided to take the long way round to get back to the west coast and sail around the islands we had shamefully shunned before.

And what a treat it was, even to the point that a dolphin appeared.  The first I’d seen since our arrival in Formentera. The islands were so pretty, with the sun highlighting the different colours and textures of the rocks. Unfortunately the camera never quite captures this, but we did get quite a few nice ones of the islands and Isla de Es Vedra watching over them in the background.

After an afternoon of glorious sailing, we headed in to Figuera Borda.  Not exactly a cala with a beach, but a beautiful bay surrounded by amazing cliffs.  Anchor secured in place, the first thing we did was to swim in the crystal blue water to cool off.  I found a tiny little pebble beach, hidden behind a rock which was perfect for relaxing and topping up the tan.  It was so perfect that Mark swam back to Offbeat and came back in Upbeat laden down with wine, glasses and treats.  There were a few admiring nods from others as we drank our wine and watched the sunset.  An end to a perfect day!

We stayed at Figuera Borda for a couple of days and took the opportunity to swim in the sea, laze on the boat and explore the area on Upbeat. Close up, the rock formation was stunning. At times it’s really humbling to be surrounded by beauty that has been evolving for thousands of years.  It makes you realise that you're time on this earth is like a drop in the ocean! 

Having explored every rock and crevice, we left Figuera Borda and motored  5 miles or so to Cala Corral, which has the smallest harbour we've ever seen but was very quaint and picturesque.  The cala is quite small but they do provide mooring buoys, so we picked up one of these and secured Offbeat to it.

We rowed Upbeat up to the harbour and left her near the fisherman's huts that surround the shallow waters of the cala, safe in the knowledge that she would be looked after by the admiring fishermen. 

We walked to Cala Tarrida which was about a mile away and had a drink at a lovely beach bar. Whilst there I tried out my negotiating skills and was quite pleased when I got a beach blanket for €8 instead of the original price of €12. I was once told, when I was in Tunisia, whatever they ask, half it and start bartering from there but never pay more than 2/3 of the original price. Seems to work most of the time, so with my new blanket tucked under my arm, we headed back to Upbeat.

When we had sailed to Cala Corral we had passed a sculpture on the headland which looked rather intriguing, a bit like a Spanish version of Stonehenge.  So being adventurous we set off to find it. We rowed over to the other side of the Cala, tied Upbeat off at a small wooden jetty at the bottom of steps that lead to the top of the cliff and into Es Pujolets woodland. 

Climbing the steps was bit of an endurance test, but the reward was worth it. The views from the top of the cliff were spectacular and as it was a perfectly clear day, we could see for miles along the coastline, all the way back to Isla de Es Vedra. 

We found the sculpture ‘Time and Space' by Andrew Rogers. The sculpture has thirteen columns forming a Fibonacci sequence with the tallest column being highlighted in 23 carat gold to reflect the setting sun on the day of the Winter Solstice.  It is a pretty amazing sight to see from sea and on land, especially with the backdrop of the woods.

Feeling rather pleased with ourselves we headed back to Offbeat for supper and to watch another glorious sunset before heading back to Sant Antoni for fuel, water and supplies before our next adventure along the northern coast of Ibiza.

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